Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Jeremy Lefroy (Stafford, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will offer support or expertise to the Indian Government to adopt an anti-trafficking law in respect of the treatment of Dalits in that country.
Hugo Swire (East Devon, Conservative)
Human trafficking is prohibited under article 23 of the constitution of India. We support co-operation between UK and Indian enforcement agencies in a range of areas and will continue to engage the Indian authorities on measures to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration, including offering UK experience and expertise where appropriate.
Our high commission in New Delhi is involved in a pilot project to improve the exchange of information between agencies dealing with the prevention of trafficking and the rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation in India. Our analysis is that trafficking is a particular risk for India's poorest and socially excluded groups, including Dalits. The UK Government ensure that all British development programmes are designed to benefit particularly the poorest and most excluded. These programmes help to address some of the “push factors” for trafficking such as poverty, lack of opportunity and illiteracy, and are also a means of raising awareness of the threat of trafficking in rural districts. Examples include the Indian Government's “Education for All” scheme, which has helped bring the proportion of Dalit children in school into line with their proportion in the general population; and our civil society programmes, which support excluded groups in India's 90 poorest districts to understand their rights and access government services.